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Walk with the Wind Brings Jazz to New York’s Central Park—for Free

This weekend's installment of Giant Step Arts' concert series features Melissa Aldana and Darius Jones

Immanuel Wilkins, Burniss Earl Travis, and Nazir Ebo
L to R: Immanuel Wilkins, Tyrone Allen, Josie Say of AcroYoga, and Nazir Ebo during their Walk with the Wind performance in New York’s Central Park, Sept. 27, 2020 (photo: Jimmy Katz)

Giant Step Arts, a jazz-focused nonprofit created by New York jazz photographers Jimmy and Dena Katz, has created a free concert series in Central Park called Walk with the Wind. Its next performances, on Saturday, October 3 and Sunday, October 4, feature trios led by saxophonist Melissa Aldana and Darius Jones, respectively.

In addition to supporting jazz artists who are struggling to make a living during the COVID-19 pandemic, the performance series honors the life and legacy of the late civil rights activist and U.S. Representative John Lewis, who died in July at the age of 80.

Walk with the Wind concerts take place at 1 p.m. on the Mall, the pedestrian promenade that runs through the park’s east side between East 66th and East 72nd Streets. Each performance features a small band.

For Aldana’s October 3 performance, she will be accompanied by bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Kush Abadey. Jones’ performance the following day features bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Gerald Cleaver.

The series began on August 28 with the Wayne Escoffery Trio and has since featured the Marquis Hill Quartet, the Michael Thomas Trio, and the Eric McPerson Trio. Last weekend’s performances were by drummer Nasheet Waits with saxophonist Mark Turner and bassist Rashaan Carter on Saturday, Sept. 26, and saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins with drummer Nazir Ebo and bassist Burniss Earl Travis on Sunday, Sept. 27. The series will continue as the weather permits; concerts that are scheduled, but canceled due to inclement weather, will be rescheduled.

Founded in 2018, Giant Step Arts supports innovative jazz musicians by commissioning new works and presenting and recording performances of those works, as well as supplying the artists they work with (by invitation only) with marketing and promotional resources, including CDs and digital downloads, photos and videos, and PR support. Visit Giant Step Arts’ website for more information.